Monthly Archives: March 2016

GROW TOGETHER WEEKLY UPDATE | March 31

Happy Thursday friends,

I was reminded again this week of the power of what we each do.  Monday night my wife and I received a text that one of the children of one of the couples in our group had been injured and would be needing surgery.  Good news: The surgery went well and everyone is doing great.

show_upWhat has also been amazing over the last few days, is to watch our group respond to this need through prayer and serving the family.  I know I’ve said it before, but I believe one of the most powerful things we can do for one another is “show up” in each other’s moments of need.  In those moments we get to be the tangible touch of Jesus to one another.  Yes, we meet to study and worship together.  Yes, we meet to find ways to serve our community together. But, we also meet to serve and lift up one another. Thank you for making this a priority in your group/class and teaching your group/class to do the same.

 

GT HUDDLE | APRIL 24

icon_mark_your_calendar-copPlease mark your calendar for April 24 at 6 pm  for the final leader huddle of the school year.  We will be talking about key information for summer and next fall, as well as some key training.  I look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

 

FAVORITE THINGS

0Last week I asked you what some of your favorite things were about your group or class.  I was very encouraged by your answers and thought it might be encouraging to you to read what one another wrote. Here is what you said:

 

  • Everyone is flexible with leading a discussion . It is not just me as the group leader. Our time together is also spent socially as well as in study.
  • Our group’s ability to laugh and joke but also pray and be vulnerable with each other.
  • I love our small group because it gives us an opportunity to see each other grow and mature. It challenges me to think outside of my “box”. It gives us the opportunity to share what God is doing in our lives so that we might encourage one another in their life.
  • I think the best part about our group is that each of us has a genuine interest in the lives of the others. Members care about others because they have chosen to care and not for any self seeking reasons.
  • Getting to know Christian friends. Celebrate good times and support each other through bad times
  • Especially because of the close friendships we have developed.
  • I love my small group because we do life together: We volunteer at FCC together, we invite each other to our children’s birthday parties, we pray together through the ups and downs of life, we eat meals together, we go to special events together. It is amazing to know that no matter what else is happening, we have a group of people that know us, love us, and are willing to “do life” with us!
  • They never cease to amaze me with the grace they extend to me and to each other. I feel loved by them and I love them so much. I love how they welcome new people in and watch out for each other. I love how they check up on one another and I feel blessed and honored to be able to be called the teacher of this class when I am constantly learning so much from them!!!

 

ASKING BETTER QUESTIONS

Forward

Great questions are essential to great conversation. As a result I am always looking for tips on asking better questions.  I came across an article this week that I found very helpful in the way I think about leading my own small group.  However, I share it cautiously, because it’s ultimately about a “method”, and while I think the “method” is good, I don’t want to give you the impression that I am asking you to adopt this method in your group or class. As you read through, I would really encourage you to process the principles that drive this method and the specific questions they ask, and then determine how those principles can build into what you are already doing in your group.  I would also love to hear your reflections, so please share a thought in the comment section on this page. 

Here is the article: http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2016/four-step-discussion-method-that-works-for-any-study.html?paging=off

 

INTENTIONAL CHURCH CONFERENCE

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 3.38.41 PMThe Intentional Church conference is taking place at FCC on Saturday April 23.  This one-day conference equips ministry leaders and volunteers to help them reach their communities for Jesus Christ.  Here is a link with more information about the conference: Intentional Church Conference

As a Small Group Leader or Teacher this would be a great opportunity for encouragement and training.  The KEYNOTE SPEAKERS are excellent and there is a breakout for Small Group Leaders.

If you are interested in going, please click here to email me and let me know.

Once I hear from you, I will take care of getting you registered.

 

Thanks again!  Please let me know if there is any specific way I can serve your group!

Thanks, JG

Grow Together Weekly Update | March 24

GT Update March 24 from Jon Grunden on Vimeo.

PRAYER IN SMALL GROUP

Here is the article I referenced in the video.  http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2016/teach-your-small-group-to-be-comfortable-with-group-prayer.html?paging=off  Please take a few minutes to read through.  If your group/class does really well with prayer, and you have some additional ideas, please share in the comments.   Otherwise, hopefully this will give you some ideas to make prayer an even greater part of your group/class time.

FAVORITE

This week, I would love it if each of you would take a few minutes to tell me what you love about your small group or class.  I would like to use this information to help others understand why this could be an important part of their faith development. Please use the form below to let me know.

If the form doesn’t show, please click here.

Have an amazing Easter!!! Thanks, – JG

GROW TOGETHER WEEKLY UPDATE | MARCH 17

Hello Grow Together Leaders, I hope your week is going well. I know I mentioned this last week, but I wanted to start this week by inviting you to join us at the Intentional Church Conference.

INTENTIONAL CHURCH CONFERENCE

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 3.38.41 PMThe Intentional Church conference is taking place at FCC on Saturday April 23.  This one-day conference equips ministry leaders and volunteers to help them reach their communities for Jesus Christ.  Here is a link with more information about the conference: Intentional Church Conference

As a Small Group Leader or Teacher this would be a great opportunity for encouragement and training.  The KEYNOTE SPEAKERS are excellent and there is a breakout for Small Group Leaders.

If you are interested in going, please click here to email me and let me know.

Once I hear from you, I will take care of getting you registered.

EASTER

As we head into Holy Week I wanted to remind you of our service times.

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  • There are identical communion services on Thursday and Friday evening at 7 pm.
  • There are six identical Easter services (SAT: 3:30, 4:30, 5:30; SUN: 8:30, 9:15, 11am).

Please encourage the people in your groups, to invite friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc.  If anybody has questions please send them to http://www.firstdecatur.org/easter/.  There is a lot of helpful information including this video, which explains key information for first time guests.

Thank you again for being amazing leaders.  It truly is a joy to serve with you.

JG

 

 

 

 

 

GROW TOGETHER WEEKLY UPDATE | MARCH 10

Happy Thursday!

A_small_cup_of_coffeeIt’s been great to connect with several of you over the last few weeks to get to know you better and learn more about what God is doing in your group/class.  I am looking forward to connecting with more of you in the coming weeks.  If you haven’t responded yet, I would still love to have the opportunity to connect. Click here to email me some times that work for you.

 

INTENTIONAL CHURCH CONFERENCE

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 3.38.41 PMAs leaders within our congregation, I wanted to invite you to join us at the Intentional Church Conference.  This is a conference FCC is hosting on Saturday April 23.  Here is a link with more information about the conference: Intentional Church Conference

As a Small Group Leader or Teacher this would be a great opportunity for encouragement and training.  The KEYNOTE SPEAKERS are excellent and there is a breakout for Small Group Leaders.

If you are interested in going, please click here to email me and let me know.

 

GROUP  UPDATE

I would love to hear a little about how your group/class is going.  Please use this form to let me know.

If the form doesn’t show, please click here to access the form.

Thanks again, Have a great week. – JG

GROW TOGETHER WEEKLY UPDATE | MAR 3

SPRING IS COMING…

12791083_10153405367652944_4583942505158979636_nBaseball is back!  Yes, I realize it’s just spring training, but the regular season kicks off one month from today.  Not only that, but two weeks from today we will already be in the second round of March Madness.  Or, if sports are not your thing, check out this picture of daffodils I took while spending some time with my parents last weekend.  What’s the point? Spring is not that far away.

I know I started last week with the same thought, and some of you are probably thinking I’ve run out of material. But the truth is, I believe this time of year can be one of the toughest times in the rhythm of spiritual community, and as a result it can be easy to miss out on great opportunities.  I know this because I’ve fallen prey year after year to muddling through February and March only to find myself in June wondering what happened to the time.

All that to say that I would really encourage you to make the most of these next few months.  I promise you won’t regret it.  If you do regret it for any reason,  I’ll give you your money back.  I’m not sure what money either, it just sounded cool.  So, what does this look like? I think it starts by being intentional in your group/class time.  Don’t allow the monotony of the rhythm of life to seep into your group.  Bring your A-game, get creative, schedule something outside of your normal rhythm.

One of the people in my group last week said that she really didn’t want to come to group that week, but she was so glad she did.  The rest of the group agreed.  I think most people tend to feel that way at this point in the year.  So if that is true, what could you do to make coming to your group or class that much more worth while?  I would love to hear your ideas.  If you have an idea, please share in the comments, and if you do, there might be a little reward for you.  Guess you will have to try and find out. 🙂

IN THIS SEASON…

I suspect that many of you know Laura Reimer.  If you don’t, she has been a faithful servant and leader at FCC for many years.  She currently oversees our weekend prayer team, teaches a sunday school class and serves in a lot of ways that very few people see.

IMG_3737-768x1024She also happens to write a blog I love to read, and is probably not very happy with me right now for drawing attention to her.  Sorry Laura.

I wanted to share one of her posts with you this week because it was an incredible encouragement to me, and because it believe it directly connects with what we each do.  Please take a few minutes to follow this link and read her thoughts:

In this season (from laurareimer.net)

Laura did a beautiful job of painting a picture of the burden that many of the people in our congregation, and therefore our small groups and classes, carry on a daily basis.  Not only that, but how our amazing God walks with us in each of these situations.  I think her encouragement is powerful and many people in our groups and classes need to hear it.  Please feel free to share with those who do.

On a broader scope, what I love about this article, is that she is walking this road with her friend as her friend navigates this difficult season.  We all have people in our groups and classes who are walking difficult roads.  As leaders and teachers, we have the opportunity to step in and journey with them, and help those in our groups do the same.  While I want to be careful not to oversimplify, In these situations I think there are three basic ways we can serve.

Show Up

show-upEven in moments where you feel completely inadequate, your presence and genuine concern for the person will show that you care. That is enough to help with crisis.   The truth is that you are not superhuman, but because of God you are supernaturally able. In the moments you walk into crisis, be strong and be confident in Him.

 

Speak Carefully

26-770x425I love that Laura pointed out that sometimes there are no words.  Often your presence and appropriate touch are exactly what the person needs.  However, in those moments when you do have the opportunity to speak, it can be intimidating.  If I can be honest, I find those moments intimidating too.  Here are three ideas I try to focus on and would encourage you to do the same as you care for the people in your group or class:

  • Focus on listening: Listening is an incredible gift to someone facing difficult circumstances.  The key thing is not giving into the pressure to jump in and say what you think you are supposed to say.  Often listening is what is most deeply needed
  • Focus on feeling: Sometimes people need help expressing how they actually feel about the situation.  In difficult moments, people tend to recycle what they have heard others say.  In these moments you have the opportunity to help them define how they actually feel.
  • Focus on remembering: One of the most powerful ways to bring hope is to help the person recall great memories and beautiful moments.  This is deeply needed, especially in situations like Laura described.

Please also remember that the burden is not on you to fix the situation with your words.  While I still feel intimidated by speaking in these moments, I have found that God consistently gives me the words I need when I need them. 

Pray

PrayThe most important way to serve is through prayer.  Pray for the person and pray with the person.  Prayer not only has the power to make a significant difference, it serves as a reminder to the person that God cares, is with them, and is for them.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read through this, and thank you for caring for your group/class so well.  Have a great week!

Thanks, JG